Best Video Doorbell Cameras of 2020

We've tried and tested dozens of video doorbells, and these options are the cream of the crop.

By
&
Aliza VigdermanGabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Oct 30, 2020
Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Ring Doorbell

Editor's Rating
9.7
/10
High-quality hardware, cheap video storage, and the best Amazon Alexa integration. Ring video doorbells are the best doorbell cameras on the market.

Best No Contract

SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro

Editor's Rating
9.4
/10
High quality hardware at a low price; works alone or with a larger SimpliSafe security system.

Comparison of the Best Video Doorbells

System
Ring Doorbell
SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro
Vivint Doorbell Camera
Arlo Video Doorbell
Nest Hello Doorbell
SkyBell
August Doorbell
Lorex Video Doorbell
Zmodo Greet Pro
Kangaroo Doorbell Camera
Ranking2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th10th
Ratings 9.4/109.2/109.1/109.0/108.7/108.3/107.5/107.4/106/10
Read ReviewSimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro ReviewVivint Doorbell Camera ReviewArlo Video Doorbell ReviewNest Hello Doorbell ReviewSkyBell ReviewAugust Doorbell ReviewLorex Video Doorbell ReviewZmodo Greet Pro ReviewKangaroo Doorbell Camera Review

Best Video Doorbells of 2020

A Detailed List of the Best Doorbell Cameras

  • 1. Ring - Best Doorbell Camera Overall

    High quality hardware, cheap video storage, and the best Amazon Alexa integration

    Editor's Rating
    9.7
    /10

    We thought the Ring Video Doorbell 2 was the best doorbell camera overall. It was priced competitively at $199, and video storage was a bargain at just $3 per month or $30 per year. This model is a best seller because it’s feature-rich, well-made, and compatible with anyone’s house or apartment. While we used it wirelessly, we also had the option to hardwire it.

    Backed with lifetime theft protection, we agreed it would be silly for someone to steal. It was motion-activated to record crisp video in any light, and audio was clear with ambient noise automatically filtered out. The footage was streamed to our mobile devices and/or desktop computer.

    Ring video doorbells worked independently or when integrated with various home security systems. Ring Alarm security systems were popular because of their Amazon Alexa integration: with Alexa voice commands, we controlled our video doorbell, door locks, lamps, and more.

    What We Liked
    • 1080p HD video quality
    • Easy DIY installation
    • Two-way audio feature
    • Custom motion sensing
    What We Didn’t Like
    • Some Ring cams were too bulky
    • Premium doorbell cams were pricey
    • Ring Pro cam required hardwiring
    • False alarms happened frequently

    Monitoring

    In part, we monitored our Ring doorbell without paid service. The free app for mobile phones and desktop computers alerted us when someone rang the bell or when motion was detected. We viewed our live video and interacted with the system’s two-way voice feature.

    To save video, we needed a paid plan for DIY or professional monitoring. With either plan, our video clips were saved for 60 days each.

    • Protect Basic: The Protect Basic plan gave us storage for just $3 per month or $30 per year with a 12-month service agreement. We were excited to score such an industry-leading bargain.
    • Protect Plus: Another great value deal, the Protect Plus plan added professional monitoring and covered all our devices for just $10 per month or $100 for a year.

    FYI: The Protect Plus plan also gives users discounts off products on the Ring website.

    Installation

    As mentioned above, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 worked wirelessly (running on battery power) or hardwired.

    The wireless setup was straightforward and took us about five minutes. The wireless option was low-maintenance, too, as the battery held power for years on each charge.

    For hardwiring, the doorbell required a minimum of 16V. The Ring website explained how to install the doorbell with a new transformer or power adapter if needed.

    Review

    Ring leads the video doorbell industry, and their Video Doorbell 2 was a best seller for its “compatible anywhere” setup and great mix of features. We watched our live feed for free, and again, storage only cost us $3 per month.

    Along with great hardware, we also selected an excellent deal on professional monitoring (just $10 per month). With everything included, our complete Ring Alarm set provided home security, environmental protection, and home automation.

  • 2. SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro - Best No Contract Option

    High-quality hardware at a low price; worked alone or with a larger SimpliSafe security system

    Editor's Rating
    9.4
    /10

    The SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro ($169) was created to compete with Ring and Nest doorbells. That being said, our equipment with SimpliSafe cost less than with other brands but had similar features such as a wide-angle lens, pan and zoom, and two-way audio. In some ways, the SimpliSafe doorbell had an edge. In others, it had some room for improvement. All in all, we decided it was one of the best choices for people seeking affordable home security without a contract.

    Tip: With SimpliSafe, it’s worth it to get the Interactive plan so you can actually receive notifications and control your doorbell remotely.

    Our Video Doorbell Pro, like others, served as a mini video security system. Working alone, a built-in motion detector triggered it. When we connected it to a larger SimpliSafe home security system, it responded to other sensors too. For instance, if our glass break sensor was triggered, the doorbell camera automatically started recording.

    What We Liked
    • Crisp and clear 1080p video quality
    • Smart sensors reduced false alarms
    • Surprisingly affordable options
    • Simple DIY setup and easy to use
    What We Didn’t Like
    • No third-party automation integrations
    • Required wiring, no battery-operated options
    • Video recording required a subscription
    • Did not have voice assistant integration

    Motion detection with the SimpliSafe doorbell was remarkably high quality. It virtually eliminated false positives with heat detection, whereas a bird or falling tree branch may have triggered lesser cameras.

    HDR imaging made SimpliSafe an especially useful daytime camera. HDR (high dynamic range) counteracted bright light, reducing the sunny glare that was common with other video doorbells. It significantly extended the camera’s coverage. For instance, our camera caught action far away in the street, but with the glare, we could only see a few feet. Nest had doorbells with HDR as well, and the anti-glare technology was included on some, but not all, Ring doorbells.

    The night vision on SimpliSafe’s doorbell was not so cutting-edge. With infrared, we got the benefit of crisp black-and-white video, which certainly had its own value. However, with SkyBell or August, we got full-color recording 24 hours per day. With Nest or Ring cameras, a low-light sensor supported color video for more time each day than SimpliSafe’s devices did.

    Monitoring

    Without signing a long-term contract, we remotely controlled a SimpliSafe doorbell and an entire home security system for $24.99 per month. This optional plan also added professional 24/7 security monitoring, and SimpliSafe automatically called emergency responders if our system was breached. Additionally, this top-tier plan let us automate our home’s door locks, lights, and thermostat via the SimpliSafe mobile app.

    A cheaper option we considered was paying $14.99 per month. However, that plan did not include remote control or professional monitoring. Thirty days of cloud video storage for one doorbell camera cost us $4.99. Alternatively, we could have stored video from unlimited SimpliSafe cameras for $9.99 per month total.

    Installation

    While most of our SimpliSafe equipment was wireless, the Video Doorbell Pro needed to be hardwired. It worked with old and new homes’ electrical systems and replaced wired doorbells from 8V to 24V. Do-it-yourself installation for the Video Doorbell Pro took about 30 minutes and required no tools, other than our handy Phillips screwdriver.

    Multiple interchangeable faceplates in obsidian, cloud, and jade (aka black, white, and green) were also available.

    Review

    All in all, the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro was our selection for best no-contract doorbell for home security. It compared favorably with Google Nest Hello doorbells ($229) and Amazon’s Ring Video Doorbell Pro ($249). We had the option to add professional emergency monitoring to our plan for less than $1 per day. SimpliSafe let us try their equipment risk-free. If we wanted to return the doorbell, we could have just called SimpliSafe within 60 days of our product’s arrival and arranged for free return shipping.

  • 3. Vivint Doorbell Camera - Best Video Doorbell with Professional Installation

    Editor's Rating
    9.2
    /10

    For those that already have a Vivint security system, their latest doorbell camera is the perfect way to see who’s at your front door from anywhere in the world. In terms of night vision, audio, smart platform integrations, and artificial intelligence, the Vivint Doorbell Camera is top-notch with infrared night vision, integrations with Alexa and Google Assistant plus person detection.

    What We Liked
    • Professional installation
    • Lifetime contract warranty
    • Person detection included
    • Three to five-year battery life
    What We Didn’t Like
    • 720p HD video
    • Requires Vivint security system with touchscreen panel
    • Continuous recording requires $249 Vivint Smart Drive
    • Expensive device

    Monitoring

    Although we could’ve left our monitoring to ourselves with the Vivint Smart Home app, professional monitoring was an option, as well. The cost per month was a base of $39.99, but if we wanted 14 days of cloud storage per video doorbell or camera, it would’ve bumped the cost up to $5 per device. To learn more, read our page on Vivint costs.

    Installation

    Finally, the Vivint Doorbell Camera also required an existing doorbell setup, but we didn’t have to do it, as the company offers professional installation. After installing and testing our nine different video doorbells, this was quite the relief. However, that relief came with a cost, $129 to be specific. If you’re willing to give up the dough, the process was really easy, with helpful technicians and a direct number to call them after.

    Review

    Overall, the Vivint Doorbell Camera is one of the best we’ve seen. It’s waterproof and wireless, with a super-long, three to five-year battery life. With person detection, we only got notified when our camera detected people, not miscellaneous moving objects like squirrels or passing cars. We commanded the device using both Alexa and Google Assistant, and when we wanted to view our footage from earlier, we did so through the Vivint Smart Home app, paying $5 a month for 14 days of storage. Although we wish the camera had 1080p HD video resolution as opposed to 720p HD, we think it’s worth the price anyway, especially if you want professional installation.

  • 4. Arlo Video Doorbell - Best Video Doorbell with Siren

    Editor's Rating
    9.1
    /10

    When Arlo finally came out with a doorbell camera, we were more than excited, what with our many Arlo camera reviews. And the Arlo Video Doorbell didn’t disappoint, especially what with the free three months of Arlo Smart we got when we bought it. That meant we got notifications for people, packages, and pets specifically, which was good considering the rise of package theft during COVID.

    What We Liked
    • 1080p HD video with HDR
    • 180-degree field of view
    • Person, pet, or package detection with Arlo Smart
    • Two-way audio
    What We Didn’t Like
    • Hardwired setup only
    • No local storage
    • Requires existing doorbell and chime setup with electrical wiring
    • After the first three months, have to pay for person detection

    Monitoring

    Being a DIY company, Arlo doesn’t offer professional monitoring of any kind, so we got notifications directly to our phones via the Arlo app. The app has a 3.7 on the Google Play store and a four-star rating on the Apple store, and we found it easy to use. But note that once our free trial of Arlo Smart ended up after three months, our camera’s artificial intelligence capabilities were taken away and we received only motion-activated alerts. Also, our cloud storage went from 30 days to a week, not bad for no monthly payments.

    Installation

    Since we had an existing doorbell setup with a 16-24 VAC, we could hardwire our Arlo Video Doorbell directly into our electrical wiring, meaning we would never have to worry about replacing the battery. First, we removed our traditional doorbell and re-screwed its two wires into the back of the new device. Then, we screwed it in and went to the Arlo app, where we were guided, step by step, on naming the doorbell and scanning the QR code. The app took it from there! Overall, the process was pretty easy and took about 10 minutes total.

    Review

    One of the best things about the Arlo Video Doorbell is that it comes with Arlo Smart, which gave us detection for people, packages and pets specifically. We also appreciated that the camera not only had 1080p HD resolution but also HDR, which helped with shadows and glare immensely. With the widest possible 180 degree field of view, a week of free cloud storage, and an Alexa integration, the Arlo Video Doorbell is a great choice for anyone in the Amazon ecosystem.

  • 5. Nest Hello - Best Google Home Integration

    A smart doorbell with facial recognition and the industry’s best Google Home integration

    Editor's Rating
    9.0
    /10

    Our Nest Hello video doorbell ($229) worked alone or with a multi-part Nest system for home security, environmental monitoring, and home automation. It had one primary advantage over competitors —Nest products had the best Google Home integration available. For instance, with Google Assistant voice commands easily streamed doorbell video to a Nest hub or Chromecast TV screen.

    Beyond the Google Home compatibility, Nest Hello had all the smart doorbell features shoppers expected in 2020: a wide viewing angle, crisp night vision, two-way voice, and more. It also had less common features, such as facial recognition and the ability to play customized messages.

    What We Liked
    • Innovative facial recognition feature
    • Oversized viewing screen for full picture
    • Worked seamlessly with Google and Nest products
    • Users set custom home and away rules
    What We Didn’t Like
    • Tricky to install and setup
    • Subscription required to store video
    • Relatively expensive device
    • Required chime box to function

    Unlike the SimpliSafe and Ring doorbells above, Nest Hello streamed video 24/7 (not only when triggered by motion). If we’d wanted, we could have scanned through an entire 30 days of footage history. For our convenience three-hour snapshot histories were also stored, allowing for quick review. Our research told us that was the most generous video storage available, which made sense with Google owning Nest.

    If we wanted a break from DIY monitoring, Quiet Mode let us disable the alert chime. Meanwhile, facial recognition let the doorbell camera recognize familiar faces. Through a combination of facial recognition and Quiet Mode, we were able to leave specific, pre-recorded messages for each known visitor!

    Installation

    Nest Hello required hardwiring. Since our unit replaced an existing bell with transformer 16 and 24V, we used the existing wiring and transformer without any modifications. The company told us that if we didn’t already have a doorbell installed or our existing unit included a different transformer, we could use a power adapter. If this was the case, they suggested we use their referral for a pro installation by an electrician.

    Monitoring

    For DIY monitoring, Nest gave us free access to live video and basic notifications, plus, we got to view snapshots triggered by motion detection for up to three hours in the past. To stream old video, save a new video, or get advanced notifications, we needed a paid subscription. Pricing was also attractive at just $10 per month or $100 for a prepaid year. Nest Hello was sold by Google and also came with theft protection and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

    Professional monitoring was available month-to-month for $29 through Nest Secure. Nest Secure helped guard our home against crime, protect us from fire, support home automation, and more. Emergency monitoring was provided in partnership with Brinks, a home security company known for its quick response.

    Review

    We concluded Nest Hello was the best doorbell camera for a Google-friendly home. Just by speaking, we sent its footage to our tablets, TVs, and other screens. Facial recognition and the option to customize messages also made this unit stand out.

  • 6. SkyBell HD - Best Field of View

    The hardiest video doorbell for extreme climates, and records color video in any light

    Editor's Rating
    8.7
    /10

    SkyBell HD was a reasonably-priced doorbell camera ($199) with free video storage (seven days per clip) and doorbell theft replacement. This camera took our award for the best field of view thanks to a 180-degree lens with minimal fisheye effect. The SkyBell HD also recorded color video at night. The video was recorded when motion was detected. Plus, we got to snap pictures whenever we wanted by pressing a button in the SkyBell app.

    This smart doorbell needed to be hardwired. That might be a turnoff for some people, as it was initially to us. However, SkyBell HD’s installation was uncomplicated and didn’t require any special skills. We were also very impressed by the SkyBell HD’s temperature range. We wanted a device that could withstand extreme heat and cold, so the SkyBell was a perfect fit, as it worked in weather as cold as -40 degrees and as hot as 140 degrees Fahrenheit. For comparison, consider that the best-selling wireless Ring video doorbell was only guaranteed from -5 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. From Arizona to Alaska, SkyBell may be best.

    What We Liked
    • Remote two-way communication
    • Simple DIY installation and setup
    • Attractive design and aesthetic
    • Provided 1080p HD video quality
    What We Didn’t Like
    • Limited equipment options
    • Sometimes difficult to install
    • Relatively pricey up-front cost
    • Customer service wasn’t great

    The specs list was impressive! A 180-degree field of view was rare, and SkyBell pulled it off with minimal fisheye distortion.

    This doorbell camera was especially effective for nighttime recording. Unlike some cameras, however, it didn’t have HDR to reduce daytime glare.

    In contrast to the SimpliSafe doorbell, the SkyBell HD was not designed for direct integration with a full system, so the company did not produce window sensors, glass break sensors or other security equipment.

    Installation

    We installed our SkyBell HD over existing wiring for a mechanical doorbell (but it would have worked over a digital one too). Designed to work on a 10-36VAC setup, the SkyBell HD’s detailed specs were published on the SkyBell website.

    Monitoring

    Most SkyBell customers monitored their doorbells entirely on their own with a free app. SkyBell didn’t have a professional monitoring service, and they didn’t sell any other security equipment than doorbell cameras. However, as SkyBell HD owners, we added our doorbell to a full security system in partnership with Honeywell, Monitronics, and Alarm.com.

    Review

    The SkyBell HD was an attractive stand-alone option for do-it-yourself home security. It provided more coverage than its leading competitors and recorded color video regardless of ambient light. At just $199 plus free video storage, SkyBell’s price was hard to beat.

  • 7. August Doorbell Cam - Most Affordable Monthly Plan

    Ultra high-resolution doorbell camera with a floodlight for nighttime color video surveillance

    Editor's Rating
    8.3
    /10

    The August Doorbell Cam Pro was a hardwired home security solution that captured color video by day or night. While the Skybell HD (above) had color night vision, the August doorbell activated a floodlight to allow color recordings at night. HDR wasn’t included, but video was ultra high-res as listed below.

    What We Liked
    • Impressive live-streaming via mobile app
    • Integrated with third-party platforms
    • HindSight feature recorded before activity occurred
    • Built-in floodlight for low-light conditions
    What We Didn’t Like
    • Monthly cloud storage was often pricey
    • Relatively bulky design and construction
    • Customer support needed work
    • Users must have a mechanical chime

    Along with its floodlight feature, the doorbell camera was impressive for its high pixel count. It provided us about 33 percent more detail than the typical high-quality doorbell camera for 2019.

    Installation

    The August Doorbell Cam Pro worked with existing wiring to replace a mechanical chime doorbell. It ran off 12-24 VAC. Setup was simple and for many homes, the only tool required was a Phillips screwdriver. Mounting brackets were also provided.

    Monitoring

    Without a subscription, we received previews of all activity at our door. For a payment of just $2.99 per month, we saved video clips for 15 days each. A $4.99 per month fee allowed us to save video for 30 days.

    Review

    Equipped with a floodlight, the Doorbell Cam Pro recorded especially high-resolution security video by day or night. It had a narrower lens than the other cameras in this review, but 120 degrees was ample for the typical home. In our opinion, August’s $2.99 per month plan for 15 days of video storage was among the best deals in home security.

  • 8. Lorex Doorbell Camera - Best Hardwired Video Doorbell

    Editor's Rating
    7.5
    /10

    For those that have existing doorbell setups and don’t mind DIY installation, meet the Lorex Video Doorbell, an $129.99 option from the popular big box company.

    What We Liked
    • Affordable price
    • Local storage of up to 64 GB
    • No monthly fees
    • Infrared night vision
    What We Didn’t Like
    • No professional monitoring available
    • No cloud storage
    • No smart platform integrations
    • No person detection

    Monitoring

    Since Lorex doesn’t offer 24/7 professional monitoring, we self-monitored our video doorbell through the Lorex Home app, getting notifications whenever our device detected movement. This is a good option for someone that wants to avoid monthly fees, although if you miss a notification, the video doorbell can’t do much good.

    Installation

    Since the Lorex doorbell is hardwired, we had to do some electrical work, but we found Lorex’s how-to videos to be really helpful. First, we disconnected our old doorbell, then rewired it with the Lorex device, connecting it to the Lorex app and turning it on when it was all done. We wish Lorex offered a wireless device or professional installation, as this situation was a bit complicated for the average DIY-er.

    Review

    Aside from its relatively complicated hardwired setup, the Lorex Video Doorbell impressed us in terms of video, with 1080p HD resolution and a wide, 160-degree field of view. We could talk to people through the two-way audio, and at night, we saw clear, black, and white footage. All of the footage downloaded directly to a micro-SD card, making it a solid choice if you don’t have Wi-Fi. However, there was no cloud storage, person detection, or smart platform integrations, making the Lorex Video Doorbell a better option for someone who wants to keep things simple.

  • 9. Zmodo Greet Pro - Best Video Doorbell with Voice Messages

    Editor's Rating
    7.4
    /10

    You have a voice message service on your cell phone, so why not add one to your home? For when we couldn’t respond to alerts from our Zmodo Greet Pro, we recorded voice messages and had them play to our guests. This was a nice way of adding a personal touch to our home, even if we weren’t home to greet our guests in person.

    What We Liked
    • Continuous recording available
    • 180-degree field of view
    • Integrations with Alexa and Google Assistant
    • Can leave voice messages for visitors when absent
    What We Didn’t Like
    • Poor iOS app
    • No wireless setup
    • No person detection
    • No built-in local storage 

    Monitoring

    Zmodo doesn’t have 24/7 professional monitoring, either, we instead, we got motion alerts via the Zmodo app. Now, one disadvantage of the device is its iOS app, which currently has a 2.2 rating in the Apple store. Unfortunately, this app seems to be getting worse and worse, with fault updates that cause recordings to freeze and skip or even lose sound. We think the Zmodo Greet Pro is better for Android-users, as the Android app has a 3.8-star rating in the Google Play store.

    Installation

    The installation for the Zmodo Greet Pro was pretty similar to that of the Arlo Video Doorbell, as it required a mechanical doorbell. First, we downloaded the Zmodo app, then turned off the power to our doorbell via our circuit breaker. Then, we removed our existing doorbell with the Zmodo screwdriver with the Philips head. After that button was gone, we unscrewed it from the wires and then removed the mounting bracket from the Greet Pro. After attaching the included level, we used the mounting bracket to mark where to drill, then drilled using a hammer drill we had lying around. Next, we looped the two wires to the new terminal and slid the Greet Pro onto the mounting bracket, turning the power back on to make sure it was connected. Once the status line blinked green, we added the camera on our app, scanned the QR code, named it, and connected it to Wi-Fi. Pretty simple overall!

    Review

    Zmodo is definitely a brand that flies under the radar, but considering the quality of the Zmodo Greet Pro, it’s not clear why. Our favorite things about it were its 1080p HD video, its 180-degree field of view, its two-way audio, infrared night vision, and Alexa and Google Assistant integrations. But we only got 12 hours of cloud storage, which wasn’t much time to review our footage, plus, there was no artificial intelligence, so we got motion-activated notifications from our activity zones. Still, we loved recording voice messages for when we weren’t around to speak through the camera’s speakers, and at $179, the Zmodo Greet Pro is definitely worth its price tag.

  • 10. Kangaroo Doorbell Camera - Most Affordable Doorbell Camera

    Editor's Rating
    6
    /10

    At only $19.99, the Kangaroo Doorbell Camera is by far the cheapest one we’ve reviewed, but there’s a key reason why. Rather than recording live video, it records snapshots of what’s happening, which we got sent as screenshots. There was also no two-way audio, so we couldn’t speak to whoever the camera was at. But if those features aren’t essentials to you, then you might as well save a ton of money with the Kangaroo Doorbell Camera.

    What We Liked
    • Wireless 
    • Infrared night vision
    • Peel and stick installation
    • Can get home insurance discount with Kangaroo Complete
    What We Didn’t Like
    • Doesn’t record video, only images
    • Motion-activated alerts only
    • 480p HD video quality and 60-degree field of view
    • No two-way audio

    Monitoring

    While there is professional monitoring available for the Kangaroo security system, as you can see on our page on Kangaroo’s pricing, it doesn’t cover the video doorbell, so we monitored our device ourselves through the Kangaroo: Simple Home Security app. On the Apple store, this app has a nearly perfect 4.7-star rating, and we had no issues getting motion alerts via the doorbell camera’s Wi-Fi connection. However, those looking for 24/7 professional monitoring for their doorbell camera won’t be happy with Kangaroo.

    Installation

    Since the Kangaroo Doorbell Camera was wireless, installing it was as easy as putting a sticker on our binder in middle school, with an adhesive attached. The chime we installed indoors so we could hear it if we missed our phone notification. Once the doorbell and chime were up, we downloaded the Kangaroo app, connected them both to Wi-Fi and each other, and were done. If you’re looking for easy installation, look no further than Kangaroo.

    Review

    Despite the easy installation, there were a lot of things that were lacking about the Kangaroo Doorbell Camera. The main thing was the fact that it didn’t record video but images, which Kangaroo arranges so they look almost like a flipbook. We also couldn’t speak to our guests, which wasn’t really useful for when we weren’t home or wanted to answer the door without getting up. Instead, we got notified whenever there was motion, which was often, and couldn’t do much about it if we weren’t home. All in all, we’d only recommend the Kangaroo Doorbell Camera if you’re okay with seeing images of who’s at your front door and not being able to respond.

Note: Nest Secure is no longer sold, although existing systems will continue to work normally.

By remotely responding to visitors at our front door via our video doorbell, we prevented robberies at our home because no matter where we were, playing video games upstairs or on a business trip in Taiwan, we always seemed like we’re home.

This was only one of the many reasons we were passionate about video doorbells. When we heard we were responsible for selecting the best video doorbells of 2020, we were honored and eager to get started. Keep reading to find out which video doorbells made the list and what features got them there.

Pricing Breakdown

Ring Video Doorbell 2$169
SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro $169
Nest Hello$229
SkyBell HD$199
Lorex Doorbell Camera $129.99
August Doorbell Cam$199
Vivint Doorbell Cam$249.99
Zmodo Greet Pro $179
Arlo Video Doorbell $149.99
Kangaroo Doorbell Camera$19.99

There’s a very wide range when it comes to pricing, but by far the most expensive option on our list was the $249.99 Vivint Doorbell Camera, while the cheapest option was $19.99. However, these devices aren’t really comparable, as the Kangaroo doorbell camera is images only, not videos. All of the other cameras on this list record video, which explains their much higher prices.

Video Doorbell Methodology

What qualities did we look for in a video doorbell, and how did we know if something was up to par? In this section, we discussed how we chose the best video doorbells of 2020.

Design

We knew our doorbell was one of the first things visitors saw at our home, so it was important to us that we liked the aesthetics as well as technology. The next thing we looked for was durability. We wanted to know each video doorbell’s temperature range and then make sure that it didn’t get any hotter or colder than where we lived. Sometimes, IP ratings were also available. Those were very helpful in giving us an idea about how resistant it was to water.

IP RatingsSolidsLiquids
0Not ProtectedNone
1A large body surface like the back of a hand, but no intentional contact with a body partDripping water falling vertically
2Fingers or similar objectsDripping water falling from 15 degree tilt
3Tools, thick wires, etc.Spraying water
4Most wires, screws, etc.Splashing water
5Dust protectedWater jets 6.3mm & below
6Dust tightPowerful water jets 12.5mm & below
7N/AImmersion up to 1m
8N/AImmersion over 1m

The next factor we wanted to consider was whether the video doorbell was battery-powered or needed to be wired into our home. While hardwiring was certainly a more complicated process, we liked that we wouldn’t have to worry about changing the batteries if we went that route. If our video doorbell was battery-powered, we wanted to be sure the battery life was six months or longer. We also preferred devices that notified us if the battery was low.

We liked to learn about the circumstances that triggered the camera to record, which was typically either when it sensed motion or people, or when the doorbell was pressed. Sometimes there was also an option for 24/7 continuous recording.

Features

Of course, the main feature of any video doorbell was its camera, and we were sticklers for our necessary features test. In this section, we reviewed the cameras in terms of technical specifications as well as our own experience using them, judging them based on their video, audio, night vision, storage, smart platform integrations, and artificial intelligence capabilities. Keep reading for more detail about each.

Video

1080p HD was the industry standard for security camera video display during this review. We also looked for fields of view that were 120 degrees or wider. Finally, it was nice if the camera could zoom optically or digitally, although it wasn’t a deal-breaker if it couldn’t.

Audio

All of the video doorbells we reviewed had built-in speakers and microphones which enabled two-way audio. Two-way audio meant that we could actually speak to whoever was in front of our doorbell camera, whether we were in the house or across the world. This was a key feature of video doorbells.

Night Vision

We preferred infrared night vision over color night vision from bright white light because it was way less conspicuous. LED sensors were hardly noticeable, and if we were recording an intruder at night, we wanted to make sure they didn’t know. Most video doorbells had infrared night vision. The strength of LED vision depended on its amount of LED sensors, but there were no hard and fast rules.

Storage

Nest Aware Storage
Nest Aware Storage

There were a number of reasons to store our recorded footage. If we had an intrusion, we wanted some footage to show to the police. Sometimes, we liked to store footage for sentimental reasons, like when we brought our dog home for the first time. Whatever reason, we always backed up our footage in two ways, locally on a hard drive or device, as well as on the cloud.

During our video doorbell evaluations, different companies really differed when it came to local and cloud storage. We’d seen both offered for free as well as neither offered for free. We’d also seen 60 days of cloud storage offered for $3 per month and 30 days of cloud storage offered for $30 per month, so there was a huge variance.

The point was, storage was something we took very seriously and factored into the overall cost when choosing a video doorbell.

Smart Platform Integration

Amazon Echo Speaker
Amazon Echo Speaker

We knew we wanted to purchase a video doorbell that integrated with the same smart home system we did. For us, that was either Amazon or Google. That way, we were able to control our doorbell camera, hands-free!

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence was key when it came to video doorbells. They all worked through motion detection; when they detected motion, we received a mobile notification. But a lot of motion detected usually wasn’t from people but other moving objects. For example, we had some energetic squirrels along with some annoying street racers we’d see now and then. That’s where AI came in handy. Person detection differentiated between people and other moving objects, while facial recognition told us exactly who was at our front door. Unfortunately, the majority of video doorbells we reviewed didn’t have any AI capabilities, but it was a huge advantage in giving us smarter, more specific notifications.

Installation

Depending on our video doorbell design, we either hardwired it into our home or operated it by batteries. It was always important to make sure that our home matched the video doorbell’s requirements before buying it. For example, some video doorbells required an existing doorbell setup while some didn’t. If we didn’t feel confident in hardwiring or otherwise installing our video doorbell, we hired a professional. Doing so usually cost us $100 or more, but at least in those cases, we knew it was done correctly. The cheaper option, of course, was DIY installation, so we always made sure we knew what we were getting into before we purchased a video doorbell.

App

Finally, the app we used to control the video doorbell and its storage needed to be highly rated on either the Apple or Google Play store, depending on our mobile device. We preferred ratings of three stars and above and made sure to check out the most recent reviews to see the most current updates.

Video Doorbell FAQs

  • Which is the best video doorbell?

    Through our research, we’ve found the Ring Video Doorbell, SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro, Nest Hello, SkyBell HD, and August Doorbell Cam to be some of the best video doorbells.

  • Is there a monthly charge for Ring doorbell cameras?

    Ring does not require monthly fees for its video doorbells. However, we recommend signing up and paying for a Ring Protect plan to get additional cloud storage, professional monitoring, cellular backup, or other features.

  • How does a video doorbell work?

    Video doorbells connect to a mobile application so we can see and speak to whoever’s at our front door from anywhere in the world. The camera comes with a speaker and microphone so we can have two-way conversations. Many video doorbells are motion-activated, notifying us whenever they detect motion, and some can even differentiate between people and other moving objects to make our notifications more relevant.